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Needing help with leader cloths - Little Gracie

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didash Posted: Sat, Nov 9 2013 8:11 AM

Finally getting ready to use my "new" Little Gracie" frame!! Turns out one of the former owners prepped the leader cloths incorrectly. Specifically, they folded the cloth on the pin line and stitched it down (tiny stitches right on the fold :( ).  To make matters worse, they cut the cloth right along the line where it gets attached to the poles.  So my question is, do I have to purchase or make new leader cloths, or will a half inch on one end and 1 1/2 inches on the other end make the cloths too small?

Obviously, this is the first time I've used a frame and still a quilting newbie...any thoughts, comments, assistance is GREATLY appreciated!!!!  Thanks in advance :)

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Eileen replied on Sat, Nov 9 2013 8:20 AM

Diane, your leader cloths sound too small to me. I'm not sure if you have Little Gracie or Little Gracie II but the company has instructions online for most of their frames. These are the instructions for LG II & page 25 has info on making leader cloths if you want to do that: http://www.graceframe.com/site/pdf_instructions/current_machine/little_gracie_ii_instructions_metric.pdf

I made some for a Grace frame I had & I think Nana suggested ticking fabric - the stripes on the fabric help because if they are printed correctly you know if the cloths are straight & if you've pinned the top & back on straight, too.

Sorry to hear the last person left you what they did but I hope you get this solved :-)

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didash replied on Sat, Nov 9 2013 11:33 AM

Thanks, Eileen!  Since I'm new at this, what are the consequences of the leader cloths being too short?  Does it mean you just might not be able to quilt the borders on the frame?

Also, do you have any idea how much batting you can put on the lower rail?  I just purchased a 25 yd roll (more than 50% off!), and don't know whether to try to roll it all on the rail or cut off just what I'm going to need for this quilt??

Thanks again for your help - I feel really in the dark with this first project on the frame!

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Eileen replied on Sat, Nov 9 2013 2:56 PM

My understanding of the leader cloths is that they 1) give you something to attach your quilt to the frame and 2) allow you to quilt more of the top & bottom of the quilt, whether it has borders or not. Frames differ in size as do machine throat spaces. The deeper the frame - and machine throat - the more you can quilt before advancing the quilt on the frame. If your leader cloths are shorter than the recommended size, you might have problems being able to quilt to the edge of your quilt.

In terms of whether or not to put a while roll of batting on the frame, the size of your frame, the batting width and if the batting was folded before being put on the roll it came on are all determining factors.  If the batting was folded before being rolled onto its core and you don't want it doubled or you need the whole width, you might not want to put the whole roll on your frame. If there is not enough room between the roller bar & the floor to attach the whole roll without it touching the floor, you might not want it on the frame.  I have a roll of batting & I just cut what I need & then I "float" it on the quilt back (the bottom end hangs loose - I don't pin it down).

I bet other quilters could give you even more info on this since I'm still fairly new to long arm quilting myself! The :Longarmers Share" message thread (might be # 2 or # 3 by now) would be a great place to ask for more advice.

Practice on something else first if you have not already. I would use a piece of the same weight fabric & batting & same weight thread so ou can get a feel for the tension, etc.

Best of luck & have fun!

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weezee56 replied on Thu, Nov 14 2013 8:44 PM

Diane I bought leader cloths from Kathyquilts.com they sell on ebay. But I think you should watch their video on how to attach leader cloths, I think this will help you tell if yours are usable or not.

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Vivian replied on Fri, Nov 15 2013 9:49 AM

Leaders that are to short are no fun but don't make them to long.  They'll take up space you will need for your quilt 

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